We’ve all found ourselves in difficult situations. Whether the difficulty is found through poor communication, emotional immaturity, or an overall lack of understanding, it’s important to understand others in order to move forward. I’ve found that many people do not understand the importance of empathy, which is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Remember a time you’ve been in a similar position
Are you excluding someone because you don’t like or understand him/her? It may be the path of least resistance to simply remove them from a get together, but try to put your self in their shoes. Do you remember a time in your life when you were excluded from an event and didn’t know why? How about a party all of your friends attended, but you didn’t even know about it until you saw pictures posted? It more than likely hurt your feelings. Would it really have hurt them to invite you to a gathering with mutual friends? Odds are, no, it wouldn’t have damaged anything. Keep this in mind the next time you have an event planned and need to form a guest list. If someone wants to attend, there are very few reasons to neglect inviting them.
Place someone you love in the same situation
When I am too far into a situation, it can be difficult to empathize with others. One trick I use to step outside of the situation is to think of people I care about in the same dilemma. If I’m angry with someone, I imagine someone is angry with a person I love about the same thing, and then I think through how I would want it resolved. For example, would I be as angry at the car that just cut me off if it was my grandmother driving? No, I would completely excuse her brief lapse in judgment, probably laugh, and carry on to my destination.
Ask yourself if you truly believe the “wrong doer” is evil
I believe people are good at heart. Over the years, I’ve called my dad to vent about frustrating people and situations. His response always set my mind back on track: “Do you think they are evil? At the heart of all of this, do you truly believe this is a bad person?” No, I could never say I believed they were truly bad people. His question gave me back perspective I’d lost in the middle of my own emotions. Next time you believe someone has done you wrong, ask yourself if you really believe they are wicked at heart. Odds are that they are doing what they truly believe is in everyone’s best interest, even if it’s rubbing you the wrong way. Try to chat with them and find a way to see eye-to-eye. Understanding where they are coming from will likely lead to a positive conversation!
Have you used empathy to resolve rough situation? Share you experience below!
Originally published at dearkristen.com on July 6, 2016.